Wednesday, November 29, 2006

This Day in Thrift: Nov. 28, 2006

Today, I picked up a prescription at the Stop N Shop Pharmacy. It was a re-fill, so I had already researched the price. It was significantly cheaper to fill it at Stop N Shop than at CVS. And, when you factor in in shipping, it was also less expensive than at Drugstore.com. I haven't checked the price at the small, family-run pharmacy in town, but I plan to. I'd like to give them my business, if the price is right.

I also went to the pet store and picked up my favorite brand of cat litter, "The World's Best Cat Litter." (It really is.) I shop for pet supplies at Dave's Pet Food City because it is conveniently located, the staff is friendly, the prices are competitive, and with my Club Dave's Card, I earn coupons and free products simply buy buying the things I like to buy anyway. This week, I had a coupon for $5 off anything in the store, if I bought an 8lb or larger bag of Dave's brand cat food. This is my brand of choice, so I bought one and saved $5 on my cat litter purchase.

The Club Dave's Card is the most useful store club card I've ever used. If you forget yours, the employees are happy to look you up. There's no cost, no catches, no hassles, and while you lose some anonymity by allowing a store to track your purchases, the brands I prefer are part of the Club Dave's program, so after I've bought a certain amount of litter or food, I get a free bag, which makes it worth it to me.

I also went to see my chiropractor/homeopath. My bill for the office visit and remedies was over $200. I paid with my debit card, but asked them to run it as a credit card. I earn reward points for using my debit card as a credit card, and it costs me nothing--no interest, no fees, no charges. Unfortunately, the rewards are not very good. You have to accumulate a very large number of points to get anything worthwhile, but it still makes sense to accumulate the points rather than not. And by paying with my debit card, I essentially paid cash. I was tempted to put it on my credit card because it was such a large purchase, but I refrained because even if I paid it in full on my next statement, because I carry a balance, it would have accrued interest. It's always better to pay cash (with check or debit card) if you can, except in specific instances where purchasing with your credit card is beneficial. I'll cover some of those in the future.

Unfortunately, I forgot to eat before I left for the doctor, and I was headed for a serious blood sugar crisis. I stopped at a local market that was on the way and was going to by a Balance bar, for a little less than $2, but instead, I bought half a sandwhich for $2.75. I got some protein and felt more full and happy than I would have if I'd just gotten the Balance bar.

In the evening, I chose not to go to the healing clinic I usually go to on Tuesday nights. At the clinic, I receive alternative healing for about an hour for $10 (or less if you can't afford to pay). The healers are kind, gifted, and generous, and it's worth ten dollars just to be around them for an hour every week. They are students who use reflexology, acupressure, reiki, and other energy work to treat patients.

This week, for a variety of reasons, it felt right and made sense for me to skip the clinic. Instead, I did some yoga at home, had a good dinner (salmon and rice), got some work done, and then went out with friends. I spent $13 on drinks and food, danced until 2am, and had a great time. Since I saved $10 by not going to clinic, my night of fun really only cost me $3 more than any other Tuesday.

Since there's more to thrift than just dollar amounts, it's hard to quantify the value of things, or to make choices based only on the financial price of things. Everything also has a quality-of-life price that we each have to calculate for ourselves. Everyone has to use their own personal judgement to make the call. If trading the clinic for the night out would have made me sicker, it wouldn't have been worth saving the $10 (especially since they'll treat you for free if you need them to).

For me, finding and maintaining wellness is paramount. I wish I had remembered to eat at home, but since I didn't, it was worth it to spend $2.75 to avoid the physical and emotional effects of a blood sugar crash. And, in the evening, I really needed to get out and have some fun. I haven't been dancing in so many months--or years?--that I can't even remember the last time I went. There was no cover charge, and I didn't have to spend money on drinks, but I did, because I was happy to be able to. It felt like an important part of the experience.

You might have chosen to spend your money differently in this day--you may have different priorities, tastes, desires, and goals. But so long as you were conscious of your spending and making informed choices, you were living in thrift.

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Eddie Bauer coupon December 2006

Save 15% off any purchase, plus get free shipping at eddiebauer.com. During checkout enter DREALSIMP in the Promotion Code Box on the Delivery & Extras page. If you order by phone, mention code Q272. The code can be used more than once. There is no minimum purchase. The shipping is free, but a $3 handling fee still applies. Coupon expires 12/24/06.

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

A Word About Advertising on This Site

The ads you see in the top left portion of Thrift are provided by Google's AdSense program. They are generated based on the content of these blog pages, and if you click on them, they generate a small amount of revenue for the site.

Reviews, recommendations, and suggested products or sites that you find anywhere else at Thrift are not paid advertisements. They are independent recommendations based solely on the merit of the product, site, or service at hand.

Thrift will never recommend that you use, try, or buy a service or product unless we have tried it and believe in it ourselves. If you have questions, drop a line to Naomi at graychase@gmail.com.

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Living in Thrift

I've been on my own financially since I was 18. I put myself through college and have lived on modest to meager incomes ever since. My hope is that one day I will live comfortably. But even when that day comes, and my income far exceeds my cost of living, I will still practice thriftful living.

Thrift is a state of mind. A way of being. It is a practice of thoughtful spending and resourcefulness that is satisfying, rewarding, and socially and environmentally responsible. Like meditation, you can do it a little or do it a lot, and it will be beneficial either way.

When you practice thrift, you don't eat out just because you can't figure out how to eat in. You know how to stock your kitchen and plan ahead and feed yourself. And when you eat out, it's because you chose to do something special for yourself or someone you care about, or because it was necessary and/or more efficient to do so.

In thrift, we understand the connection between our life energy and our income. We don't spend blindly. We consider the source of our desires and find the best solutions to them. We are empowered by knowledge, and we try to make informed choices about what we bring into our lives, how we pay for those things, and what we do with them once we have them.

This blog will offer tips, guidance, and real life stories to help you increase and better enjoy your thriftfulness.

Yours in thrift,

Naomi Graychase
November 2006

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